There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about handmade quilts. And with a recent surge in the popularity of crafts, there’s no better time to learn the ancient art of quilting. No sewing experience necessary!
Quilting — the art of sewing fabric into a patchwork blanket — dates back to Medieval times. Steeped in tradition, quilts were historically made to cover beds. They still are! Patchwork quilts also make great decorative wall art, throws, and table runners.
This DIY shows you how to to make a quilt by hand. Of course, using a machine is also possible and can save a lot of time. Our step-by-step guide doesn’t require a pattern. But, if you discover a love for quilt-making after this, you can always experiment with more complex designs using a free downloadable quilt pattern.
First, let’s start with the basics.
- Scissors - for any arts and crafts, sharp scissors are a must.
- Rotary cutter - similar to a pizza cutter, it cuts fabric accurately into the desired shape. A 45 mm blade will do the trick!
- Cutting mat - to save your surfaces from damage.
- Quilting ruler - a transparent meter rule will also work to measure your fabric.
- eam ripper - handy for undoing any stitching mistakes.
- (Basting) pins - have lots of these to hand to hold your design in place.
- Batting - the insulating filling.
- Fabric - choose just about any pattern or colour under the sun. Give yourself a headstart by buying 'charm packs,' fabric already cut into squares.
- Quilting needles - strong needles for getting through multiple layers of fabric.
- Thimble - to protect your fingers!
- Quilting thread - a strong thread that doesn’t fray. Pick a thread that complements your fabric — either contrasting or similar in colour.
1. Cut the squares
To begin making your quilt, cut squares out of the fabric, ready to be sewn together to create your quilt top. 8x8 or 12x12 inches works well.
1. Create your quilt design
Create your design by laying out the fabric — on the floor is fine! This gives you a clear overall view, so you can change swap and change squares if needed.
Collect and organise your fabric squares into patches of four to simplify the sewing process.
1. Stitch the squares
- From the patch of four, place two with the right slides together. Join them by sewing a seam ¼ inch in from the edge of the fabric. Repeat with the other two squares, making two pairs.
- Place the two pairs of two squares right sides together. Lining up the seams accurately. Pin and sew together.
- Turn the squares right side up and press flat. Your first patch of four, done!
- Repeat this process for all your patches of four squares.
4. Finishing the quilt top
Sew your patches of four into larger groups of four. Then, do the same again. Until you have made the entire quilt top.
5. Neaten the edges
Trim any uneven or messy edges from your quilt top using your rotary blade, quilting ruler, and your cutting mat.
6 Quilt sandwich
Time to assemble your quilt! Cut your backing fabric and batting (quilt filling) several inches larger than your quilt top. Now, make a quilt sandwich: Layer the batting on top of your backing layer of fabric. Then lay your quilt top over the batting, taking care with alignment. Pin your quilt sandwich together with tacking pins, masking tape, or spray glue.
Tip: if your batting has creases or your quilt top won’t lay flat, gentle press with a cool iron.
Don’t quilt, yet. You are nearly done! Machine or by hand, straight stitches or fancy patterns, there are many ways to quilt. A trusted beginner's method is to stitch your quilt together along the seams of the squares and the outside edges, following the design of your quilt. Use a running stitch that goes through all three layers of fabric, securing it all together!
Tip: keep your fabric taut and flat when quilting.
8. Binding your quilt
Finish your cozy homemade quilt by binding the edges. To neatly seal the edges, cut some fabric into strips — ideally, a little longer than your quilt. Pin them in place, then bind your edges by sewing the fabric over them. Like piping on a cake.
Display your hard work in the living room or bedroom to make the space cosier. Want more ways to make your home cozy? We're here to help. From tips for making your bedroom cosier to tricks for turning everything into a couch — even the tub!
Want some tips on keeping your quilt looking as good as the day you created it, see below.
After spending all of your precious time creating a beautiful new quilt with the tips above you’ll also want to know how to keep it looking as good as the day you made it. Quilts by their very nature are prone to getting stains, whether that’s a spilt drink while you’re breakfasting in bed or grass stains if you do happen to take it outside for picnics.
We recommend cleaning it on a cold wash, it’s not only good for the planet if you use a specialist detergent for cold water like Cold Power it’s also great at removing those light stains that come with everyday use.
If you have picked up some more stubborn stains then using a detergent that’s tough on stains like Dynamo will not only look after the colours but it’ll restore your creation to it’s former glory stain free.